Spokesman: London's Decision to Extend Diplomatic Protection to Zaghari Not Constructive

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi lashed out at Britain for its decision to extend diplomatic protection to Nazanin Zaghari, an Iranian national who is now serving term in jail for spying for London, saying that the measure could further complicate her case.

"It is known for certain that firstly, the British government lacks good will in this measure; and secondly, this measure is not assessed as constructive and positive at all, and for sure it will not make the case any easier, and might even further complicate it," Qassemi said on Tuesday.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced on Friday that London had decided to give Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe diplomatic protection “as part of the Government’s continuing efforts to secure her release”.

Qassemi said London's move may not lead to any new legal situation on Iran's domestic scene or  internationaRemovelly and only reflects a political decision by the British government which is even against the country's clear legal positions at international bodies.

In relevant remarks on Friday, Iranian Ambassador to the UK Hamid Baeidinejad lashed out at Hunt for trying to extend diplomatic protection to Zaghari.

In reaction to Hunt’s statement, Baeidinejad said the UK government’s extension of diplomatic protection to Iranian citizen Nazanin Zaghari, who is serving her term in Iran on espionage charges, contravenes international law.

“Gov'ts may only exercise such protection for own nationals. As UK Gov't is acutely aware, Iran does not recognize dual nationality. Irrespective of UK residency, Ms. Zaghari thus remains Iranian,” he said in a Friday tweet.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a project manager with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, was arrested in Tehran in April 2016 as she was returning to Britain.

While the British media have claimed that she was arrested after a family visit, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson told a parliamentary committee in November that Zaghari-Ratcliffe was "simply teaching people journalism as I understand it" when she was arrested at Tehran airport


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